Television has "all but ignored" the subject of business, says Eric Sevareid on the premiere of ''Enterprise'' tonight. There was a certain bliss to this ignorance -- more so than there is to ''Enterprise,'' which is just fine if one is already interested in the subject and not very fascinating if one is not.
Sevareid appears only briefly on the first program, at 9 tonight on Channel 26, and rather lazily invokes that tired old Calvin Coolidge quote about the business of America being business. True, business and labor leaders have complained in recent years about the way TV depicts them -- mainly as cutthroats and gray-flannel thugs in dramatic shows -- and "Enterprise" offers some welcome remedial relief.
But "Wildcatter," the first show, although it is a neatly done documentary about a small outfit's search for oil and gas in Louisiana, can't help reinforcing the notion that business is dull stuff for all but the businesspersons.
The mavericks who have gathered together capital and manpower to make this Big Drill seem like an engaging and representative lot of independent entrepreneurs ("Can't find oil sittin' on your butt," one of them notes), but we don't really get to know them very well. There is too much insistent narration, written by producer-director Austin Hoyt, and spoken by Tony Kahn in the style that game show announcers use to say things like, "What Mrs. Milliken doesn't know . . ." or, "The password is 'cartel.' "
Future "Enterprises" will detail the success Kentucky Fried Chicken has had in Japan, the hot dealing done in thoroughbred race horses, and the story of what happened to employes and management after a Boston firm filed for bankruptcy. "Enterprise" is funded by more big Wall Street bulls than you can shake a stick at; it seems like one of those projects that goes over so big in the board rooms that reaching the air becomes virtually incidental -- a show for them, as opposed to a show for us.